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November 1, 2007 By David Birch-Jones
Unlike some of its competitors, who embrace specific technologies and exclude others, Samsung does not play favorites. It produces both plasma and LCD flat-panel TVs, and makes rear-projection sets with either conventional bulb light sources or the new high-output LEDs. Among the many dozens of TVs the company produces, the very best is probably its latest 63-inch 1080p plasma set, the FP-T6374.
The FR-T6374's most interesting features are its 1,920-by-1,080-pixel resolution, which is still somewhat rare for a plasma set, and the fact that it conforms to the latest HDMI 1.3 specification, which means it can take advantage of 1.3's xvYCC and Deep Color capabilities, for better color rendition from soon-to-come xvYCC-encoded high-definition material. What's truly exciting about this set, though, is the picture quality, so I'll focus my remaining words on that.
As I make the initial picture adjustments, I'm impressed with the clear menu layout and control adjustment structure. Sliding bar adjustments feature numerical indicators and a sufficient number of fine steps that allow me to zero in on just the right settings, and jot those settings down for future reference. The menu stays on screen for a full minute, a boon to calibrators who have to juggle with test discs, color filters, calibration software and a color analyzer as they fine-tune the set.
I choose the Warm 2 color tone, as Samsung calls it, which comes closest to the ideal 6,500-degree-Kelvin color temperature (a lower color temperature looks too red, a higher one looks too blue). Using controls in the on-screen menu, the set's gray scale tracking can be adjusted to achieve consistent color over the range between the brightest and darkest images.
Once the set is adjusted, I find that the FP-T6374 has a quite linear gray scale from the brightest whites to the darkest grays. Only in the very darkest areas of the picture does the color balance shift somewhat toward the blue, a typical result and not of much concern. My color analyzer says that the colorimetry—the accuracy of the blues, reds, and greens that compose the image—is practically perfect. To double-check this, I pop in the late, great Roy Orbison's Black & White Night DVD, and find that the picture is indeed properly presented with no unwanted daubs of reddish or bluish tones.
That DVD also lets me check the behavior of the set's internal deinterlacer, as the disc has a mastering problem that usually causes visible combing and tearing artifacts—streaky lines marring edge details, for example. Here the FP-T6374 compensates for the disc's unfortunately poor video quality; test discs confirm that the deinterlacer is more than sufficiently competent. The only thing it lacks is 3:2 pulldown for 1080i high-def video; on these signals, you might notice a few moire patterns in some areas of fine detail.
I'm also pleased to find that the set's Just Scan mode allows for direct pixel ad...